“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back – no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold.. Nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.” – Merce Cunningham
When I was in primary school I asked Ma for dance classes after school. Few of my friends were going and I was quite enthused watching them practice in the free hours in school. I too wanted to learn and enjoy that art.
But Ma said learn to Sing instead. Dance is of no long term enjoyment. She said you can break out singing any time, you can’t do so for dance. After you get married you will not be able to continue dancing. No good home would allow their daughter in law to go out for dance programs.
I didn’t quite buy into that but didn’t push this further. Like any other child I got distracted in other curious things in the unfolding universe.
But that “naacher poka” (dance bug) stayed somewhere in me. Through College days and also MNC job days I believed only ppl with long training in dance could dance. I would feel my body wanting to move to the beats of a song but I wouldn’t give in worrying about the hilarious scene it may create.
But then we moved to Mumbai in the ADDA journey.
Here we got introduced to the fact that everybody who wants to dance can dance! The 9 days of Garba/Dandiya in my apartment complex was probably the best eye-opener where every family member – child to grandpa would participate in the dance. Nothing complex – just coordination over simple beats.
I was so impressed by this coming together of a family over a dance, probably also one of the secret sauces of the gujarati family business successes, we created a new tradition in the ADDA Office – Garba around the cubicles – GATC. All 9 days of navratri, 10 minutes before lunch hour the entire team dances around the cubicles.. The team’s coming together as a family and celebrating our workplace. This has been continuing since last 3 years – with both Mumbai and Bangalore offices adopting the ritual.
Garba around the Cubicles in ADDA – 2015.
After relocating to Bangalore I discovered this little dance club in my own Apartment Complex. A group of dance loving super enthusiastic ladies, some of them are fantastic choreographers as well as teachers! They participate in the culturals as well as dance competitions around our neighborhood and luckily there was opening in that team! More luckily quite a few of them work so practice times are in the dead of the night :)) Now there’s no stopping me…!
Here are two dances I participated in.. Far cry from my pro peers but Oh I loved every beat.. Here’s to you Ma, I think you would have been proud how your daughter grabs on to every bit of life!
Bollywood dance at Oasis Breeze Onam Celebrations – 2016 (yours truly enters at 1:22)
Folk Dance for Nrutyotsav in Mahadevpura, Bangalore. 2017